Of course, no conversation about emerging technology is complete without the question, “What can I do with it?” At the very basic level, WiMAX will offer the capacity for service providers to deploy next generation broadband service more cost effectively than today, to a wider customer base, while adding a mobility aspect to those services.
More specifically, however, WiMAX will provide a means for service providers to offer Quadruple Play services (voice, video, data, mobile), or Triple Play plus Mobile. Certainly, there are alternatives, as the market has already witnesses with providers partnering with and reselling other providers’ offerings. But, those arrangements afford neither the profit margins from nor optimal control over those services. Service providers that are able to, on their own, deliver all these services, will have a distinct advantage.
So, with WiMAX, providers have the bandwidth and speed to provide VoIP, IPTV (including video on demand), and Internet access. The key, then, lies in its wireless access means, which allows is to provide each of these services on a fixed and mobile basis — turning it into Quad Play.
The benefits of fixed WiMAX are evident enough, simply based on potential cost savings and service efficiency, but to be able to provide mobile voice, video, and data, with the speed to allow VoIP calling, video on mobile devices, and high-speed data transfers brings a new element to today’s growing mobile community.
In addition to simple business and consumer connectivity and backhaul applications, WiMAX also brings real enhancements to communications capabilities available to emergency personnel and first responders, which will be able to benefit from not only voice communications, but also video and data transmissions to more effectively respond to situations and coordinate responses.
WiMAX also speeds deployment of temporary communications facilities, for sporting events and other occasions, for instance, which require temporary access for visitors, media, and personnel. With WiMAX towers already in range, all that needs to be added are the appropriate on-premises equipment to create easy access for such events.
And of course, in rural areas, where broadband service has until now been limited or impossible, WiMAX makes high-speed access a reality. Eliminating the need for running fiber across rough terrain, or through sparsely populated areas — both costly endeavors — WiMAX base stations can be built to service the local areas wirelessly, creating a new revenue source with a considerably lower investment.
So, in a fixed environment, such as the home, WiMAX has the ability to provide similar services to what are already enjoyed today — with the exception that it makes possible the inclusion of a new set of potential subscribers that have relied on PSTN and dial-up service. Add to that the mobile aspect of WiMAX, and consumers, businesses, and government agencies alike will discover a whole new broadband paradigm, which will significantly enhance their ability to conduct their business — simply by not being tied down by wires.